A long, long time ago, people who lived in Colorado didn't have to be told how to deal with winter weather.
We were Coloradans, for pete's sake!
We lived in a state that recalled two things to most outsiders: mountains and snow. In fact, other people talked to us when they weren't sure how to deal with winter weather. We were full of good advice in those days.
"Steer into the slide," we'd advise.
"Carry an emergency blanket in your car."
"Don't drive in a blizzard, you California idiot!"
Ah, memories. Now, of course, we can't be nearly so cocky. Today's incoming storm is an exception. Droughts have made Colorado, and particularly Southern Colorado, dry as a bone for years. Even our famous ski resorts are dry. And sadly, this means that maybe we do need to be reminded how to deal with this cold weather stuff.
If the weather guys are right, we've got a storm around the corner. Refresh your memory on the drill:
City encourages calm preparation before the storm.
The City of Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is encouraging citizens to prepare for winter weather, predicted for the City through Friday. According to the National Weather Service, frigid temperatures and snowy weather could affect much of Colorado Springs.
“The best advice we can give at this point is to avoid prolonged exposure to the cold,” said Bret Waters, emergency management director. “Additionally, it is never too late to prepare emergency kits for both home and car.”
Warming Shelter Open
For those who need emergency shelter, The Salvation Army opens its warming shelter (709 S. Sierra Madre St.) whenever temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The shelter will accept entry until 10 p.m. when the doors close for a head count. Once the head count is completed the doors open again (around 11 p.m.). For more information about Salvation Army Services please call, (719) 578-9190.
Winter Weather Preparation
Waters said it is important to take steps to winterize homes and cars now.
“We remind citizens to always carry an emergency supply kit in the car when traveling
during winter months, and stay tuned to weather forecasts that may impact the local area. Also, dress correctly for the weather even if planning just a short drive to the grocery store. The car may be warm, but the motorist may be forced to walk for help if the car stalls or in case of an accident.”
Waters encourages all residents to prepare emergency supply kits for home and car. During a weather emergency, workers may not be able to respond right away. It may be necessary for residents to survive on their own for some time. All residents should stock enough supplies to last a minimum of three days. Additional information is available at www.springsgov.com and select Emergency Management.
Here are the essential items to assemble:
Home Emergency Supply Kit
Battery or Hand-Powered Radio Baby/Infant Supplies
Extra Batteries Water (1 gallon/person/day)
Alternate heat source, if possible Water Purification Tablets
Fully stocked First Aid Kit Non-Perishable Foods
& Manual Manual Can Opener
Emergency candles Paper Cups, Plates, & Plastic Utensils
Waterproof/Windproof Matches Sleeping Bags
Flashlight Blankets (wool & thermal)
Utility Knife Extra Clothing
Class ABC Fire Extinguisher Extra Eyeglasses/Contact Lenses
Essential Medications Pliers
Personal Hygiene Needs Wrench (to turn off gas/water)
Personal Toiletries Duct Tape
Latex Gloves (at least 2 pair) Plastic Bucket with Tightly-Fitted Lid
Toilet Paper & Towelettes Plastic Bags & Ties
Paper Towels Disinfectant and Soap
Improvised Toilet Seat Pet/Animal Supplies
Car Survival Kit
Maintain at least ½ tank of gas Shovel
First Aid Kit & Manual Duct Tape
Class ABC Fire Extinguisher Flashlight & Batteries
Non-perishable food Reflectors & Flares
Waterproof Matches & Candles Bottled Water
Jumper Cables Bag of Sand
Short Rubber Hose for Siphoning Blankets or Sleeping Bags
Map & Compass Tow Rope
Tool Kit Extra Cell Phone Charger
Pet Food and Water Kitty litter
Baby Formula, Bottles Powdered Milk
Diapers Extra Medications
Child's Toy or Stuffed Animal Denture Needs
Extra clothing/blankets for children Oxygen
A Glossary of Important Weather Terms
Frost/Freeze Warning: Below freezing temperatures are expected and may cause significant damage to plants, crops, or fruit trees. In areas unaccustomed to freezing temperatures, people who have homes without heat need to take added precautions.
Winter Weather Advisory: Winter weather conditions are expected and may be hazardous, especially for motorists.
Winter Storm Watch: Alerts the public to the possibility of a blizzard, heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet. Winter Storm Watches are usually issued 12 to 48 hours before the beginning of a Winter Storm. Prepare now!
Winter Storm Warning: Issued when hazardous winter weather in the form of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet is imminent or occurring. Winter Storm Warnings are usually issued 12 to 24 hours before the event is expected to begin. Seek shelter!
Wind Advisory: Issued for average wind speeds between 31 and 39 miles an hour, or for frequent wind gusts between 46 and 57 miles an hour.
High Wind Warning: Expected winds will average 40 miles an hour or more for at least 1 hour, or wind gusts will be greater than 58 miles an hour. Trees and power lines can be blown down. A High Wind Warning may be preceded by a High Wind Watch if the strong winds are not expected to occur for at least 12 hours.
Blizzard Warning: Heavy snow and sustained or gusty winds of 35 mph or more will combine to produce a blinding snow (near zero visibility), deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill. Seek refuge immediately! Blizzards are the most dangerous of winter storms with conditions that lead to frostbite, hypothermia, and damage to unsupported structures and homes.
Dense Fog Advisory: Issued when fog will reduce visibility to 1/4 mile or less over a widespread area.
Wind chill: The wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin by combined effects of wind and cold. As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at an accelerated rate, driving down the body temperature. Animals are also affected by wind chill.
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